It was called "There's no 3G in Heaven", referencing the rise of social media thanks to the flexibility of smart phones and their ability to connect to the internet 24/7 thanks to the 3G networking across the country. I finally got a chance to watch it this weekend, after saving it on my ABC iView. I have to say, I was extremely alarmed when it revealed that the case studies presented by journalist Liz Jackson were all from my home town, the City of Casey.
To give some context, there is a growing epidemic of youth suicide in areas all very close to me - Pakenham, Berwick, Narre Warren, Dandenong. Leading Youth Mental Health expert, Professor Patrick McGorry has been concerned for quite some time. So too has the residents of the City of Casey, as parents are starting to become less silent in their grief and are asking hard questions of the community we live in, starting with the question of "What are we doing to prevent it?"
You may wish to go have a look at the Four Corners website by clicking here, to read a transcript of the episode, or even watch it through live streaming.
I don't know if I have too much to say about what I saw, other than I really want to put my hand up to do something positive and empowering about this topic. When I was a teen, and it pains me to say that was 20 years ago....*sigh* anyway, when I was a teen I can recall two kids in high school committing suicide and a quite a few attempting it. Two young men who on appearance had all the confidence in the world, had decent reputations amongst the students, seemed to be carefree actually. They weren't companions of mine, but they had the stigma that everyone knew them. It came as a complete shock that they felt such pain, that their only resolve was to end it.
So it's something that has been around the City of Casey for as long as I can remember. I'm thankful that families are coming forward, and making this very situation real. Dee McIntyre, a mother of young Paige who committed suicide a few months back, doesn't want her daughters death to be vain and I have to say, I'm so empowered by this mother. She's hurting, and you can tell throughout the whole episode, but she's really up for making this very real for Paige's friend. Not long after Paige's death, she left this message on Paige's Facebook.
"Can everyone please stop calling and messaging (my daughter). She doesn't have her phone. I do. And by the way there is no 3G in heaven."